Monthly Archives: October 2008

Does kissing up to your boss work?

By Noah Graff

Chicago Public Radio discussed a study today showing that employees giving gifts to bosses generally improves their treatment at work, even if bosses know they are trying to kiss up.

Ron Deluga, Professor of psychology at Bryant University in Rhode Island, surveyed 150 people and their bosses. Bosses graded their employees on a scale of one to five on a variety of ingratiating behaviors like giving compliments, gifts, agreeing with opinions etc. The employees also graded themselves on that same behavior.

Even though both the supervisor and the given subordinate agreed on the extent to which that subordinate would kiss up it actually seemed to be effective. When Deluga crunched all the numbers on the surveys and employee evaluations, he calculated that employees who kiss up receive a five percent premium for their efforts. Not enough to overcome poor performance, but maybe enough to give them an edge when applying for a promotion.

Source: www.chicagopublicradio.org

Question: Have you ever found that kissing up to a boss benefited you in the workplace?

Or, do you think that you as a boss have treated employess better because they kissed up to you?

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Apple Embraces Precision Machining

Apple recently released their new MacBook notebook computers. The company put out an excellent video which spends a great deal of time discussing the machining of the computer’s unique one piece design composed of aluminum. Apple set out to create the lightest, thinnest, most robust and sexy notebook of its kind. Aluminum was chosen as the material because it has a great strength to weight ratio and potential for a high quality finish. The video shows the extensive precision machining involved in the computer’s production, from the extrusion process to produce single blocks of aluminum through the 13 separate milling operations to create the its main body.

Question: Does this video below make you want to buy an Apple computer or Apple stock?

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The Pickens Plan

Eighty-year-old, billionaire, oil baron T. Boone Pickens believes that America’s oil era is over. He is now going full speed into the alternative energy business, building filling stations for CNG cars around the U.S. and spending $2 billion out of what he hopes will be $10 billion to build an enormous wind farm.

This is the beginning of his “Pickens Plan,” the goal of which is to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil by 30 percent within 10 years.

The plan will require $500 billion more in private investment and $150 billion in government subsidies. He wants the next president and congress to remake the electrical grid by declaring emergency eminent domain to run transmission lines through private lands across the country.

Despite being a longtime Republican (who many blame for Senator Kerry’s defeat by Bush in 2004), Pickens is strongly supporting Barak Obama because he knows that a Democratic administration is more likely to spend the money needed to achieve his goals.

Source: CBS: 60 Minutes (Oct 26, 2008)

Question: Do you think the Pickens Plan will come to fruition? Do you want the U.S. government to help finance it?


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To Film or not to Film employees

By Noah Graff

A recent article in Modern Machine Shop discussed the dilemma of using video cameras to monitor the daily activities of employees. In their research they found that managers and employees are divided on whether cameras are necessary in a plant. Some people felt that managers shouldn’t need cameras if the employees are valued and trusted, other people argued that employees shouldn’t mind the cameras if they are working as they should.

I’d be very interested to see a study on whether the introduction of cameras in plants boosts productivity or hurts it. Monitoring with cameras could be a brilliant method for quality control, however, would the introduction of cameras send a message that there is a lack of trust or respect from management, creating poor morale and decreasing productivity?

Question: Does your shop use cameras to monitor employees? Has it made an impact on productivity?

And, how would you feel as an employee if your boss installed cameras to monitor your work?

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Build Roads — Not Electric Cars

By Noah Graff

A recent article by wired.com suggested that one of the best remedies for the struggling U.S. economy would be an extensive overhaul of the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

Obama and McCain talk a lot about alternative energy, electric cars and high speed trains but those aspirations will take a great deal of time to come to fruition (assuming they do), and would be not be worth much if the roads, bridges, drinking water, and transit systems are a shambles.

A report card issued three years ago by the American Society of Civil Engineers gives those things listed above a D grade. The society says we’ve got to spend about $1.6 trillion just to bring things up to a B-.

“(Congress) should invest in the more than 3,000 ready-to-go highway projects that could be under contract within the next 30 to 90 days,” says John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “Funding these ready to go projects offers Congress a tremendous opportunity to put Americans to work and help cash-strapped states repair and replace our crumbling infrastructure.”

If the U.S. government decides to take on a fraction of these projects, it’s going to be a boost for American manufacturers like Caterpillar, Osh Kosh, and Bobcat.

Source: Wired.com

Question: Do you see a large amount of crumbling infrastructure where you live?

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